Washington, July 24 (UNI) Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has revealed there are 40 different militant groups operating within the country and some thirty to forty thousand trained militants have fought in Afghanistan or Kashmir including the cadres of the Jaish-e-Mohammed.
These are some of the revelations Mr Khan made at various functions during his visit to the United States.
“Successive governments in Pakistan did not tell the truth to the United States,” he added.
Speaking at a function on Tuesday, he said that successive governments in Pakistan did not tell the truth to the United States, in particular in the last 15 years, adding that there were 40 different militant groups operating in his country.
“We were fighting the US war on terror. Pakistan has nothing to do with 9/11. Al-Qaeda was in Afghanistan. There were no militant Taliban in Pakistan. But we joined the US war. Unfortunately, when things went wrong, where I blame my government, we did not tell the US exactly the truth on the ground,” Imran Khan said.
He was addressing a Capitol Hill reception hosted by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Chairperson of the Congressional Pakistan Caucus.
Speaking at another function at the United States Institute of Peace during his three-day visit to the nation, Khan said that his country still has about 30,000 to 40,000 militants “who have been trained and fought in some part of Afghanistan or Kashmir.”
“There was a watershed in Pakistani politics. In 2014, the Pakistani Taliban slaughtered 150 schoolchildren at Army Public School. All the political parties signed the National Action Plan and we all decided after that, that we will not allow any militant groups to operate inside Pakistan,” Khan said.
He said that even before the Pulwama attack in which a convoy of Indian security forces were attacked by a car bomb, Pakistan had decided to disarm “all militant groups” and all the political parties had backed it.
On February 14, 2019, an attack on an Army convoy in Pulwama left 40 dead and resulted in a retaliatory strike by the Indian Air Force in Balakot on an alleged camp of Jaish, which had claimed responsibility for the attack on jawans.
“But because this group claimed responsibility, which was in India as well — Jaish-e-Mohammed was operating in India — Pakistan suddenly came in the limelight,” Imran Khan added.
“Even before this had happened, we had already decided that we will disarm all militant groups in Pakistan. And it is Pakistan’s interest, I repeat it is in our interest, because the country has had enough of militant groups,” he added.
Khan admitted that whenever there was progress in improving ties between India and Pakistan it was met by some incident that caused a reversal. But he did not say who was behind the incidents that set back peace process.